Lowell Lecture

Mill Talk: How Dickens Helped Bring Christmas to Boston

Date & Time

Dec. 12, 2023 at 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.


Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation
Located in the Historic Francis Cabot Lowell Mill
Park in the Embassy Theatre Lot — GPS "42 Cooper Street, Waltham"
154 Moody Street Waltham, MA 02453
Driving Directions


Susan Wilson is a widely respected photographer, author, and public historian who has written and lectured about Boston history for the past three decades.

She is the official House Historian of the Omni Parker House, an Affiliate Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center, and an Honorary Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Her most recent books are Heaven, By Hotel Standards: The History of the Omni Parker House (2019) and Women and Children First: The Trailblazing Life of Susan Dimock, M.D. (2023).

Presenting Organization

Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation




Bob Perry (director@charlesrivermuseum.org, 7818935410)

Readings and performances of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol have played an integral part in winter holiday festivities for longer than most of us can remember. What fewer people know, however, is that the British literary superstar and his popular novella actually helped bring Christmas back to Boston.

Accompanied by a beautiful slide show, Susan Wilson—the Official House Historian of the Parker House—traces the history of Christmas celebrations, which were discouraged and even banned in the Puritan stronghold of colonial Boston. Wilson explains how and why Christmas finally began to be embraced in the mid-19th century, and how Charles Dickens' arrival in 1867—when he made his home at the Parker House for 5 months—really added fuel to the yule log.